The current buzz around the Acura brand revolves around the rebirth of the iconic Integra as a modern hatchback with a turbocharged 1.5-liter four-cylinder and an available six-speed manual transmission. That also ends the brand’s return to its past as Acura will spearhead Honda’s move toward battery-electric vehicles. Speaking with Automotive News, Emile Korkor, Assistant Vice President of National Sales at Acura said the return of the Integra is going to help the brand build loyalty and bring in new customers as it moves toward electrification.
“For Acura, we’re going much faster than the Honda brand in terms of our transition to electric vehicles as a percentage of sales,” Korkor revealed. That means the brand will go straight to EVs and skip hybrids altogether. Acura isn’t a stranger to hybrid vehicles because it’s had several of them. One of the first was the ILX Hybrid, which was produced from 2013 to 2015. The third-generation MDX crossover added a hybrid variant as part of its 2017 model year refresh. It coupled a 3.0-liter V6 to two electric motors, a 1.3-kWh lithium-ion battery, and a seven-speed dual-clutch automatic for a combined output of 321 hp and 289 lb-ft of torque.
Quite possibly the most notable hybrid in Acura’s lineup is the second-generation NSX supercar. It uses a 3.5-liter twin-turbo V6 coupled to three electric motors, a lithium-ion battery, and a nine-speed dual-clutch automatic. The original version made 573 hp and 476 lb-ft combined while the NSX Type S, the final version of the car before it ends production, bumps the output to 600 hp and 492 lb-ft.
Honda and Acura haven’t revealed much about their EV plans. What we know is that each brand will get its first one in 2024 and they’re both underpinned by General Motors’ Ultium platform and batteries. The exterior and interior design will be done by Honda and Acura. Honda has revealed that its electric crossover will be called the Prologue while Acura hasn’t announced a name for its EV yet.
According to Korkor, Honda is targeting 70,000 units annually for the Prologue while Acura is expecting 30,000 its EV. “We’re not just dipping our toe in the water with electric at Acura, we are jumping all in,” Korkor told Automotive News. And that’s not just because we need to. It’s because we want to. Acura is really focused on performance, and electrification is one of the greatest ways we can augment that performance.” He also added that Acura thinks EVs will represent over half of its total volume by 2030 and could go above 60 percent. Honda, on the other hand, is targeting close to 40 percent by the end of this decade.
Korkor cautioned that in the short term, several things need to be addressed. This includes customer range anxiety, charging infrastructure in major cities, the cost of EVs, and available incentives on cars. “When I look at when we are going to launch our first BEV, I feel like we will mature a lot more as an industry toward that end,” he stated. “I think our strategy is smart. It’s more calculated, and partnering with GM just makes it more efficient.”
Honda has partnered with General Motors as part of its EV offensive. The company will also develop EVs from the ground up for smaller vehicles. Eventually, all research and development will come back to Honda as soon as it becomes financially feasible.